Beirut explosion bares pitfalls of sending aid to Lebanon

BEIRUT (AP) — International leaders pledging aid to Lebanon are explicitly not handing cash to the government for rebuilding, for fear it will be diverted into a notoriously corrupt system. Sunday’s donor conference ended with nearly $300 million pledged, but also as many demands for reform as promises for aid. Transparency experts say giant infrastructure projects are vulnerable to the same kind of graft that is believed to have led to the explosion in Beirut. The port, where ammonium nitrate was stored for years with the knowledge of multiple governments, is known as a particular source of Lebanese cronyism, but will be needed to rebuild the capital.